Nearly two years after GreenRiver, the Michelin-starred cocktail bar and restaurant, closed its location on the 18th floor of a hospital high-rise, an upscale American restaurant is bringing new life to the space.
Under executive chef Donald Young, who won a star himself for his work at Temporis, WoodWind (259 E. Erie St., Streeterville) offers a menu that adds some fun to typical contemporary American plates. Diners can expect playful mashups like the foie gras bao mac — which marries the French delicacy with McDonald’s most famous sandwich and serves it on a steamed bao — alongside traditional dishes like a New York strip steak. Young aims to minimize food waste, so the leftovers from one dish might be turned into a garnish for another or become a key component of a craft cocktail. Case in point: The pineapple-leaf garnish and housemade habanero shrub of the WoodWind cocktail are made from discards from the dry-aged duck tacos.
The eponymous drink is one of 13 signature cocktails at WoodWind, most of which showcase fresh, creative, and regionally sourced ingredients. The Beet About It pairs a gin base with house-pressed beet juice, while the Beehive, a smoky-sweet mezcal cocktail, is mixed with coconut water and a dollop of raw honey.
Perched in the sky and surrounded by the relatively traffic-less calm of the Northwestern Medicine campus, WoodWind feels like a bit of an oasis in the middle of the city. It’s not a place you’re likely to just happen across, but it’s worth seeking out for an after-work hang (happy hour runs weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.) or an upscale date night.